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RE: Banned Books Week: September 24-30, 2017   You are logged in as Guest
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estebanana

 

Posts: 7502
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to BarkellWH

I think the idea that it a 'Black agenda' that was forced is hyperbolic. It was a suggestion to reverse the voluntary. He was resistant to I read his tweets, they were strange. Then he took a hot button issue to Fox News, predictably they slanted it. Right, not a very good move for a professor. I also read the tone of his responses to the organizers of the event, he was being kind of a contrary dick and in that sense he fueled a feud between faculty members in a year that was already having problems with volatility in race relations and students having difficulty.

Look call it what you will, but in a school, faculty in fighting can be common and become very intense, but if you're stupid enough to broadcast a potentially incendiary message and take a faculty fight to a national audience knowing full well the volatility of the tenor of the country on race issue you're not a very perceptive professor. He was given a choice of participating or not, but instead he made a bigger stink out of it than it merited and it damaged the school. Sometimes in academia the fights are not worth the consequence you have to face collectively. He really dug his heels into an issue that he should have known better. If you pick a scab hard enough it will begin bleeding again- a lot of white people really can't help but pick the scab when the healing is not comfortable business. He may have had a principle, but there's a time to walk out principles and a time to keep them in reserve.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 25 2017 5:51:54

Piwin

Posts: 2174
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to estebanana

I suppose everyone has to decide where they draw their line in the sand. For me, demanding that others leave would have done it. For the same reason that I have no problem if a speaker, not wanting to associate with some of the other speakers that have been invited, decides to withdraw from a conference, but I do have a problem if he tries to "deplatform" the others speakers.

As for going to the news, I don't have any opinion on it really. My understanding is that his going to the press came after he was told to no longer show up on campus as his safety could no longer be ensured, as management refused to let campus security do their job, preferring to let the mob roam around with bats. He ended up giving his classes in parks outside of the campus. A rather ludicrous situation if you ask me.
Picking at scabs? Perhaps. But what they are doing now is clearly not a good choice of medication for healing a racial divide. It's just more of the same. And when you see a friend who is constipated and takes an imodium to help, well you point out to him that imodium really REALLY isn't going to help for that. But when you point that out, you're told to shut up and you're the reason he's constipated in the first place. After a while you figure, you know what, go ahead and take that imodium. Your ass, not mine.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 25 2017 6:58:44
 
estebanana

 

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RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to estebanana

I've worked at a few colleges, teaching and as staff, first rule regarding students, don't get involved with children's games. College students of some stripes are just aching to challenge authority, usually the best thing to do is ride it out and remove the ones who are a threat to public safety. Evergreen may not have been very good at that. But you also have to understand the Northwest of the US, it's mostly WHITE. The Northwest is is learning new things about itself. I had a former professor who retired from Evergreen about ten years ago, it was always mellow then. Just chock full of white silly liberal studies kids. See here's the thing reading James Baldwin in predominantly white school is cool, because here we are liberal arts majors getting down with James Baldwin, or Langston Hughes, or Zora Neale Hurston, or Imiri Baraka...et al, it's cool that we know about Coltrane and grew up listening to rap. But add Black kids and the new awakenings and you might be asked to read bell hooks, and you might not like it, you might find yourself in all kinds of post colonial issued conversations you might think are not important. But the students set the tenor or the flavor of the curriculum and in the NW it's not always been about Black authors or art or politics. And you have school that is attracting students who are outspoken, and frankly it's hard to deal with as faculty. However it is a 'for real' a game changer when there are more outspoken Black kids on campus at a small school. Personally I would find it refreshing, and not much different than schools I attended- but there is going to be rough trade and Evergreen is not the first or last.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is one of our esteemed Supreme Court justices, she was asked several years ago if she thought the court should be seated with more women to make it equal. She said, I think the court should have nine women justices. The interviewer was taken aback and said, but that sounds unfair to have a gender inequality on the court, and she wryly answered, the interviewer had stepped right into it. She said no, in my opinion nine women justices would be fair, as previous to Ronald Regan appointing the first woman to the court, Sandra Day O'Connor, nine men sat the court for 250 years.

( Her quip implies more about power inequality than something that will literally happen anytime soon, but it's a perspective that shifts well into racial discussions of power, but then you're French so you had, Ahem, your share of post war philosophers who studied and presented power structure critique. Who am I to tell you? )

Mary Wollstonecraft also said 250 years ago: 'Women seek equality with men, not dominance over men.' So right from the beginning there's an ideal and there's path. No person looking forward has ever said the path will be smoothly paved.

What my complaint with the biology teacher boils down to is that in order to be moving forward, sometimes YOU have to clear the underbrush for the rest of the party, a space has to be made for women and POC in the world. And sure there may be some or a few, women and POC claiming a space and they may wrankle the way you see things, but in a bigger picture from my point of view carving out that space with them is more important.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 25 2017 7:29:23

Piwin

Posts: 2174
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to estebanana

The implication that he is not "clearing the underbrush" misses the point I think. This is not what this is about. The real line of division here is not racial or sexual. It has nothing to do with power or privilege of these kind of categorisations. It's the same old boring "post-modernism" vs. traditional academia debate. One side is arguing hard but is willing to change opinions if provided with evidence. The other is arguing that their argument is true because they say it is and it will not be swayed no matter what the evidence. The postmodern team isn't defined by any gender or race (nor is the other team). There's plenty of them to go around. Carve a place for them in places of authority in your school and all you get is a failed university that is no longer contributing to the universal body of knowledge, that is no longer looking out to understand the world but has closed in on itself and is busy staring at its navel wondering whether the concept of a navel is validated by their feelings or not. The liberal arts can dwell on hard solipcism if they want and endlessly study what the implications are for social constructs. The sciences, like biology, cannot. And we're witnessing this postmodern school of thought spilling over from the liberal arts into the hard sciences, which in this case is fairly easy since after all the school isn't focused at all on the hard sciences. When that happens, I fear that US universities will completely drop of the wagon of sciences. But hey, the right is getting really busy nowadays making sure that the US has no more political or economic influence in the world so I guess it's only fair that the left gets their share and makes sure the US has no more academic influence either.
Anyways, time for me to go culturally appropriate a flamenco guitar or something.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 25 2017 8:25:45
 
estebanana

 

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Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to Piwin

quote:

Carve a place for them in places of authority in your school and all you get is a failed university that is no longer contributing to the universal body of knowledge, that is no longer looking out to understand the world but has closed in on itself and is busy staring at its navel wondering whether the concept of a navel is validated by their feelings or not.


I'm not saying that as a way to staff a university, but as a way to make a society. If you read it as an affirmative action statement, not what I meant. I see it as two faculty members who exchanged untoward emails and did not communicate well. Probably there is fault on both sides, but I see the biology teacher not as a person sticking up for a value but as someone who protested too much that doubled down on an what developed into an arrogant stance. I read that in the emails he exchanged the other prof who tried to let him know why it was happening. If her tone seems forceful his seems dismissive and superior and wounded.

In the end the school had to send a lot of money to create a neutral territory for the commencement to happen, it wasted a lot of money. The same thing happened this week in Berkeley when Bannon henchman Yani what's opolis visited again. It cost the city $800,000.00 bucks to escort him to Sproul Hall steps for a 15 minute opportunity to stand there a complain that white male students are bening treating unfairly at UC Berkeley. I mean really..it's sickening.

The Evergreen bio prof reacted poorly, I'm gonna stand on that.he had several options that were better than what he did, or how he wrote back to the other prof. He could have said, ok interesting plan, perhaps next year we can coordinate better ahead of time and team teach. Really I read how he responded, it's like the old saying about academia, why is the infightng so fierce? Because the stakes are so low. He really had nothing to lose by giving some slack. Seriously. If I were the dean I would have sat them down and told them they were both being a$$holes and to knock it it off or hit the road. By the time the President got wind of it it had escalated beyond what it should have been. It was juvenile of both profs to dig in, but I think in his case there was no reason to become entrenched like that for one day of experiential education.

Not a criticism but your rad in American schools is not quite accurate, liberal studies are popular, but they're not making inroads at discombobulating hard science curriculum. That's another thing the right media tries to perpetuate, concurrently as the right politically jockies to push out liberal art studies funding. Nixon got it right, he threw money at the NEA and appointed a crack team to build American arts funding. He said then '.... the Jews and the queers will leave me alone because they will masturbating with modern art.' Trump is not that smart, nor is the right wing. They could bring weak artists to their knees by giving them lots of funding and then gradually requiring the work to pander little by little. Artists will beg for money and if given will play ball. And conversely protest the dearth and death of funding to the arts with vituperative backlashes at authority. Nixon was clever. He also played very good classical piano.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 25 2017 9:53:44

Piwin

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RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to estebanana

quote:

for one day of experiential education


Or just take the day off and go relax in the backyard with a bottle of wine. Maybe put on some Led Zeppelin and loop the song "Communication Breakdown". I imagine these "sensitivity training" seminars to be like those sexual harrassment seminars at work. Those who need them won't learn a thing, and those who don't need them get to be bored out of their minds for an hour.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 25 2017 9:59:41
 
estebanana

 

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RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to estebanana

Go check out Davids siguiriya on the clips that I posted in general. That's really the only sensitivity training I'm signing up for.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 25 2017 10:10:06

Piwin

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RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to estebanana



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 25 2017 10:12:32
 
Ruphus

Posts: 3736
Joined: Nov. 18 2010
 

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to Paul Magnussen

quote:

ORIGINAL: Paul Magnussen

quote:

I'm not for censorship of Hitler's books, the world has a right to see what an vapid writer the was.


... like Marx, he has moments of extreme perceptiveness mixed in with the hysteria. ...


Borrowing parol and opinion won´t make for grasp.

As Cold War proved more than enough, the least have been in a position to even remotely understand what Marx said. (Which in part is Marx´own fault as he over complicated some things and repeated some too much.)

Comparing his works to those of a lunatic demonstrates bias and incompetence, no matter how tall a book shelf in background might be.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 25 2017 12:37:15
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 2811
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to estebanana

In the end, Professor Weinstein, a biology professor, and his wife, who taught at Evergreen as an anthropology professor, filed suit against the college and resigned their positions. Evergreen settled for $500,000, $450,000 in tort claims and $50,000 to cover their legal fees.

Bill

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And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 25 2017 21:21:20
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 2811
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to Paul Magnussen

quote:

It’s often struck me that many students who are referred to by the media as left wing would be better described as Stalinists. It’s nothing new: remember the death-threats to Arthur Jensen, and the promises of arson for any bookshop that stocked Hans Eysenck’s The IQ Argument?


There is a point at which the extreme Right and the extreme Left meet and it's hard to tell the difference between the two. An example was the protest last March against Charles Murray of the American Enterprise Institute and author of "The Bell Curve" who gave a talk at Middlebury College in Vermont. He was shouted down by 100 to 150 self-styled "Leftist" students, and as he and his interviewer/moderator Professor Alison Stanger were walking to his car they were roughed up by students, causing Professor Stanger to suffer a concussion. A perfect example of how those who consider themselves to be anti-fascist resort to fascist tactics themselves when it suits them.

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 25 2017 21:43:01
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7502
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RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to BarkellWH

And if the dean of faculty had been able to get in there and referee between the faculty who were in fighting the situation would not have blown up. But the dean should not have to okay games like that with faculty.

But you are on point to say that left and right are indistinguishable n actions at some point. Here's the thing, the air is flammable right now and the few students that incite that behavior are messing it up for everyone. Faculty need to be more careful and not throw gas on that fire by digging into stubborn positions that they know will ignite volatile behavior. The teachers really caused this to blow up by not meeting in the middle and modeling a compromise behavior. The students just followed the faculty behavior and that leaves the teachers in an indefensible position. The bio Prof acted stupidily.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 26 2017 2:58:48
 
Schieper

 

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RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to estebanana

Interesting reading material.

On topic; In the Dutch literature form the 70's and 80's, there is hardly no book that nowadays would not be qualified as downright pornographic. And there I was. 15 years old and clueless about the world. I had to read some Dutch literature. So I picked up this book about "Brothers in Arms" which was according to the backside about a "friendship of 2 guys in the Army". That sounded just right.

First 80 pages where going nowhere. Just these guys hanging around in the Barack. Then, they finally went on tour. So I was ready for some action... which turned out to be of a different kind then the action I had seen on Rambo I, II and III. There where things blowing but not up, if you capture the my meaning.. Anyway, I struggled through 80 pages more of shower scenes and transvestite parties to just cross this one book of my list.

After that, on advice of a classmate, I borrowed a book about a painter and his nymphomaniac girlfriend which was much more to my taste.

It was a rough awakening but has been considered a valuable part of my education and a compass to explore my own boundaries and preferences. So for me no ban on books. All thoughts should be free.

For more than 2000 years the foundation of truth was already laid. In any discussion, anybody has the right to say or ask anything. Only in this way truth can be discovered.

Looking at the current state of the western left-right debate, we are at a level of thought oppression not seen since the inquisition. The increasing level of fortification within western societies like US, UK, Austria, Germany, Netherlands is worrying. And nobody is trying to bridge these gaps.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 26 2017 11:18:06
 
estebanana

 

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RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to Schieper

quote:

On topic; In the Dutch literature form the 70's and 80's, there is hardly no book that nowadays would not be qualified as downright pornographic. And there I was. 15 years old and clueless about the world. I had to read some Dutch literature.


Where I grew up that was not called literature, those were dirty books. The Piers Paul Read book 'Alive' came out two years before I was in the 7th grade. In one of my classes another kid had a copy of it and we passed it around. It was about an airliner that crashed in the Andes and the survivors have sex with each other and then gradually eat each other as they died or starvation. It was fascinating, and introduced us all to soft core porn.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 26 2017 14:45:42

Morante

 

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RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to estebanana

quote:

the few students that incite that behavior are messing it up for everyone


Some years ago I was asked by the University to give an introductory lecture on flamenco to a group of American students who had come to study Spanish.

However one young man wanted to be disruptive. When I pointed out that Sevillanas is a remnant of the seguidillas which were popular throught Spain at one time and the segudillas sevillanas is a remnant of this tradition, with a rigid structure and could not be classified as flamenco. (Of course a cantaor can make anything flamenco, as Bernarda who once said that she could sing the telephone directory por bulerías and make it flamenco )

He disagreed loudly, so I left this subject. Later, the conversation turned somewhat agressivly, to the culture of America, so I asked him how he felt about the genocide of the native American Indian. He replied that it was of no importance, these things are necessary for progress.

I had no reply for this level of ignorance and would have always despised Americans since, were it not for a couple of great liberal American friends.

Of course, now America has elected the most uncivilised and stupid President in its history, so maybe this student was typical of the unwashed majorityl
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 26 2017 16:14:09
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2576
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to Morante

quote:

ORIGINAL: Morante
Of course, now America has elected the most uncivilised and stupid President in its history, so maybe this student was typical of the unwashed majorityl


As a nearly 80-year old American and a native Texan living in Texas, I find my fellow citizens rather puzzling.

But I view them from a somewhat unusual perspective. Since early childhood I have been exposed to a variety of cultures. During Texas stays of a few years my best friends were the son of an educated Mexican American family, and the son of a Nicaraguan woman and an Irish mining engineer. During first and second grade in Oklahoma City public schools my best friend was a full blood Cherokee boy.

We lived in Alaska during middle school, Washington DC during high school. In both places there were people from local cultures, and people from all over the USA.

I have visited more than 50 countries and worked in the U.K. and France.

I have good friends in Indonesia and other foreign countries. I lived for 18 1/2 years in the Marshall Islands in the Central Pacific.

The experience has fairly efficiently inoculated me against xenophobia.

In the USA many of us now experience xenophobia against groups of our fellow citizens. So I redefine the term to include racism, politically inspired hatred, etc. Xenophobia in this sense is a prevailing human tendency. From earliest times we have characterized strangers as The Enemy, the cause of many of our troubles, deserving extermination. The prevalence of xenophobia suggests to me that for some long period it must have conferred, on balance, an evolutionary advantage.

But nowadays xenophobia is destructive. Our leaders need to combat it. Since our current president is himself a serious victim, practitioner and exploiter of xenophobia, he exacerbates the problem. He is far from the first political leader to have mined a rich vein of divisiveness and resentment.

Here in Texas I find myself seriously at odds with the views that prevail in the state legislature. I conclude that the same views must prevail within a sizable majority of the population.

Yet in my daily encounters with Texans I find them to be more polite, friendly and helpful than most people I meet in the Northeast. Here in Texas I have to work a little harder to put some black people, Mexican Americans or others at ease, since many have learned to distrust or even fear someone so obviously a member of "ye olde white people" as I am, but I am usually successful, at least on a surface level.

While many of our politicians behave in a spectacularly destructive way, most of my fellow citizens seem not to, except at the ballot box, and more and more often, on social media.

Then there are the thugs.

During the 1960s and 1970s there were large demonstrations against the Viet Nam war. Many resulted in violence. Some of them, for example at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago were intended to provoke violent reaction from the police. But it seemed to me at the time there were valid political motives for the demonstrations.

Nowadays the violence, until now much less prevalent than in the 1960s, seems mainly to be motivated by simple xenophobia, as I redefined it above. The violent people define themselves by political labels on the right or left, or by racist labels, but to me they mostly seem just to be fearful of The Others.

At times of course the fear is well founded, but the reaction to it often just throws fuel on the fire.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 26 2017 23:56:44
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7502
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to Morante

quote:

I had no reply for this level of ignorance and would have always despised Americans since, were it not for a couple of great liberal American friends.

Of course, now America has elected the most uncivilised and stupid President in its history, so maybe this student was typical of the unwashed majorityl



You may also find great conservative intellectuals and regular people, but they are becoming less and less common. There is however a stripe of conservativism today that would have appalled the conservative giants that even in the 20th century set the foundations of solid thinking. There are still some important conservative thinkers today, but their reason they bring to national conversation is drowned out by the media coverage. David Brooks is one to come to mind, but we don't hear as much of his thought getting air time. Liberals have also been given a bad name because the middle ground of the country has been hijacked by the far left and far right.

But I can't blame you for having your views about Americans, I really can't. I'm glad a few people have represented out better attributes. - it's a totally different subject, but I'm in place where I can understand why kids in college are angry, and I can understand why older people see it as meaningless or misplaced. Some youth are angry and they have a point and some don't. My teachers, who were very diverse in racial background, sent the message you can't get angry, work it out another way.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 26 2017 23:57:52
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2576
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to estebanana

quote:

ORIGINAL: estebanana
I'm in place where I can understand why kids in college are angry, and I can understand why older people see it as meaningless or misplaced. Some youth are angry and they have a point and some don't. My teachers, who were very diverse in racial background, sent the message you can't get angry, work it out another way.


Of course the reasons people are angry are very meaningful to the people who are angry, and perhaps also to those who may oppose them. But after you see a pattern of human behavior often enough, and in enough different places, you begin to see it more as the pattern, and not so much as the particular instance of it.

This is not to say there are no serious injustices presently in need of redress. There certainly are, and they may not get redressed until enough people get angry about them.

It's just to complain about the general cussedness of the human race, and its tendency to magnify small grievances in order to enhance the self importance of the aggrieved.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 27 2017 3:17:57
 
Ruphus

Posts: 3736
Joined: Nov. 18 2010
 

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to estebanana

Is it wise to assign rebel to ordinary psychological matters of the protesting individual, or does it rather indicate indifference of the beholder?
Can there actually be cultural attributes in place that are destructive, or would it be absolutely baseless to ever think so?
Can it be of sense to remind politically correct Common sense of eventually detrimental immigration, or would warning of destructive effects not be worth it, considering that such hindsight may cater to right-wingers and racists?

To me only the third question really is unclear.
Any humane agenda and good intention can be overdriven into nonesense, like for instance a social party´s demanding to grant maternity leave before pregnancy (it really occurred in the seventies) or say an alienated emancipation movement of the eighties that forgot to keep an eye on solid facts like minor wages of female employees etc. and instead ventured into ordinary opposition against males in general.

On this token PC has exalted into declaring all cultures as equal and into ignoring any culture-rooting background, which makes for plain superficial unworldliness. In Germany for instance including how not only very obvious cultural properties of recent immigration is being ignored, but the underhanded literature that founds the culture. It appears to be outright taboo to look in there, get a grasp of mentality and as to why actual integration has proven impossible ever since.

To the opposite, police received orders to keep (2015 / 2016) crime statistics widely unaltered in the reports in order to undo new inflow´s mentality characteristics.

A blinker campaign that ended up with out of all former immigrants of said background being the ones who now dare to name the truth. Their intellectuals pointing out worldly conditions, and the anonymous mass of theirs for lack of political offer now voting for the extreme right. (Right, Orientals and Africans voting for the AfD. Weird isn´t it.)

Me, belonging to those who are all too familiar with the cultural condition, and naming things as I see them, finding myself in a fundamental conflict. Unintentionally supporting the right wingers by pointing at cultural erosion, on the other hand disgustedly hearing the right wingers talking of "honor of the Wehrmacht" or hearing their more or less direct calls for 'blood and honor'.

WTF?!! An extremely questionable choice of 'casting out the devil by the Beelzebub', because of organs´ and public´s decreed tin ear.
The misuse of industrial powers who on the one hand medially undermine any viewing of their profiteering strategies abroad in the refugees´native countries / any change to bettering in Middle East & Africa, and on the other hand their unwilling of accepting an economic consolidation in Europe, whose industrial countries in view of demographic and ecological boundaries would otherwise be in line for recovery of resources and people. Preparing for further growth of their private assets with a new flash of cheap labour, under campaign of blind pseudo philanthropy. Globalization that does not care in the slightest about philosophical / ethical achievements of the Occident, respectively the cultural loss of it.

Until just some years ago foreign political opposition with obvious wounds from torturing would blithely be rejected, while illiterate economic migrants would be allowed in. And now everyone believes that official motivation would had switched to a diametric contrary of all humane concern.

The very medial power and consumers´ intellectual lack of independence that Mark Twain described.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 27 2017 14:27:26
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 2811
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to Richard Jernigan

In my opinion, many of today's problems in the United States, from the inability of Congress to compromise and move forward on legislation to the attampts on university campuses to shut down free speech (i.e., speech with which one disagrees) and the "culture wars," are a result of the hollowing out of the political and cultural center. The 2016 election was a good example. Donald Trump as a Republican and Bernie Sanders as a (recently converted from Independent Socialist) Democrat would appear to be polar opposites. Yet it is telling how alike they are in their thinking about the U.S. and their approach to America's place in the world.

We are all aware of Trump with his definition of "America First," his antipathy toward international trade agreements, and his mantra that "the game is rigged." Bernie Sanders captured the "Millennial" vote in the U.S., yet he mirrored Trump on these issues. Sanders, who pedals a completely discredited political-economic system, was, and is, adamently against multilateral trade agreements, complained constantly that "the game is rigged," and couldn't come close to funding his version of "universal health care" any more than Trump could come close to funding his "border wall." Both had expansive plans that they couldn't pay for, and both demonstrated that they are blowhards. Yet, each had, and still has, large cadres of dedicated followers.

Hillary Clinton, while nominally on the center-left, was drawn to the far left when she did an about-face and condemned the Trans-Pacific Partnership which she (correctly) supported as Secretary of State under Obama. She did so in order to gain the support of the Sanders crowd and win the Democratic nomination, which demonstrates that the Democrats, while not yet as far out Left as the Republicans are far out Right, are nevertheless pretty well hollowed out in the center.

I did not want to rehash the 2016 election for its own sake; rather, to me it was a good indicator of just how much the political and cultural center in America has been hollowed out. The result is seen everywhere, from politics, to university campuses, to the National Football League's current "culture wars." There are few people who want to make the effort to understand those with whom they disagree, and therefore there is no incentive to compromise. When everyone on either side of an issue thinks they are right and the opposition is wrong, period, dialogue is shut down.

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 27 2017 15:54:21
 
Ricardo

Posts: 11055
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to BarkellWH

quote:

ORIGINAL: BarkellWH

quote:

quote: Recent events, from the 2016 election to students of the Right and the Left shouting each other down in a bid to suppress free speech on university campuses demonstrate that ignorance has only gotten worse.

It’s often struck me that many students who are referred to by the media as left wing would be better described as Stalinists. It’s nothing new: remember the death-threats to Arthur Jensen, and the promises of arson for any bookshop that stocked Hans Eysenck’s The IQ Argument?


Ignorance of the correct use of English coupled with hyper-sensitivity can have real world consequences that go beyond syntax and misunderstanding the meaning of a word. A good example occurred in the mayor's office in Washington, DC about 12 years ago and received wide coverage in the Washington Post. A white male employee, commenting on the city budget, noted that one line item received so little funding that it, as he put it, "was a niggardly amount." A black colleague overheard him and lodged a complaint, stating that the comment was "racist." When told that "niggardly" was not racist and meant "stingy" or "miserly," the black colleague still complained. the white employee was eventually transferred to another department. So instead of the employee ignorant about English language usage being reprimanded or transferred, the employee using the term correctly was.

Unsurprisingly, there have been dust-ups at several universities over the term "niggardly." Several years ago at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, a leader of the Black Student Union complained to the faculty senate that a professor teaching Chaucer had used the word "niggardly," and that the professor continued using the word after she (the student) told her she was "offended." When told that the term had no relationship to racist language, the "offended" student replied, "It's not up to the rest of the class to decide whether my feelings are valid." These are supposed to be educated people, and yet their ignorance of the English language appears to be setting the agenda these days.

Bill


This one popped up before, I think having a wide vocabulary is great and everything, but there is time and place to use certain words due to double meanings. I really get rubbed the wrong way seeing people get away with superficially harmless things that might have a darker side. I pointed out this South Park thing in the past, and also Tarantino (have fun counting the N word uses in his films, it's pretty surprising) and Stephen King pull it off, and I think it's not cool as it's easily avoidable....sort of a smart ass way of getting away with something rude IMO. "Niggardly" could be used in the same manner.



While some folks might see the above clip as humorous social commentary, I think it was a smart ass move to replace one bad word with a new one, and in fact since that episode I have heard the new word used (in reference to THIS stupid cartoon of course) by non African Americans as a "cute" way to pretend to not make a racial slur. Not cute at all IMO, disgusting.

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CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 28 2017 14:56:05
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 2811
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

I think having a wide vocabulary is great and everything, but there is time and place to use certain words due to double meanings. I really get rubbed the wrong way seeing people get away with superficially harmless things that might have a darker side. I pointed out this South Park thing in the past, and also Tarantino (have fun counting the N word uses in his films, it's pretty surprising) and Stephen King pull it off, and I think it's not cool as it's easily avoidable....sort of a smart ass way of getting away with something rude IMO. "Niggardly" could be used in the same manner.


I would agree with you if "niggardly" had a "double meaning," as you put it. But it doesn't and never has. The term "niggardly" dates from the fourteenth century Middle English term "nyggard," meaning a miserly or stingy person, and it has retained that meaning, and that meaning alone, to this day. It has never been associated with a racist epithet.

The two examples in my comment--the Washington, DC city employee and the University of Wisconsin professor--were using the term in its perfectly legitimate meaning and context. They certainly were not using it in a "smart ass way." Perhaps it's understandable that the Blacks who objected to the term thought it racist if at first they had no knowledge of it. But it is inexcusable that after having had it explained to them that it had no connotation of racism and is a perfectly legitimate term, they continued to compound their ignorance by digging in on their original misperception.

We are in worse shape than "Banned Books Week" suggests if we are expected to exercise self-censorship based on the refusal of others to come to terms with and recognize their own ignorance.

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 28 2017 17:09:08
 
Paul Magnussen

Posts: 1540
Joined: Nov. 8 2010
From: London (living in the Bay Area)

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to Piwin

quote:

Carve a place for them in places of authority in your school and all you get is a failed university that is no longer contributing to the universal body of knowledge, that is no longer looking out to understand the world but has closed in on itself and is busy staring at its navel wondering whether the concept of a navel is validated by their feelings or not.


  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 28 2017 20:09:23
 
Paul Magnussen

Posts: 1540
Joined: Nov. 8 2010
From: London (living in the Bay Area)

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to BarkellWH

quote:

There is a point at which the extreme Right and the extreme Left meet and it's hard to tell the difference between the two.


Didn’t Hitler say something to the effect that it was easier to convert a Communist to Naziism that anyone else?

Way back in 1957, Hans Eysenck did a study of the personalities involved in the political spectrum. He accounted for the data very nicely by postulating two orthogonal axes: Radical/Conservative and Democratic/Authoritarian. Communists and Fascists both fell at the extreme end of the Authoritarian axis.

You can find a summary in Chapter 7 of Sense and Nonsense in Psychology.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 28 2017 20:29:12
 
kitarist

Posts: 535
Joined: Dec. 4 2012
 

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to BarkellWH

quote:

ORIGINAL: BarkellWH
I would agree with you if "niggardly" had a "double meaning," as you put it. But it doesn't and never has. The term "niggardly dates from the fourteenth century Middle English term "nyggard," meaning a miserly or stingy person, and it has retained that meaning, and that meaning alone, to this day. It has never been associated with a racist epithet.


However, in recent times it has been used that way. Remember, dictionaries are describing, not prescribing, how people use words. In recent years (some) people have definitely started using "niggardly" in reference to a black person as a sly slur based on the fact that it is an homonym with "nigger", knowing they have plausible deniability due to historic usage and meaning. But the very trend of using it with that intent attaches a new, ugly meaning to the word. Which is why referring to a description of historic usage and meaning is not a sufficient argument for the current supposed innocence of using that word when referring to a black person.

So it is not that people are stupid to think that, it is that they understand/sense the new acquisition of an ugly meaning (I am not saying that you use it or defend it, I am just responding to the argument you present as if it is an academic setting discussion).

Here's the Ngram to show increased usage since about 2005 or so - unfortunately the data stops at 2008 at the moment. (this just shows the increase in usage is real; not if specifically used toward a black person). I would also argue that since this includes only books, the total recent increase in usage in the public space would show to be even greater had the corpus of written media and recorded spoken usage been included as well.



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Konstantin
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 28 2017 20:45:31
 
Paul Magnussen

Posts: 1540
Joined: Nov. 8 2010
From: London (living in the Bay Area)

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to kitarist

quote:

Here's the Ngram to show increased usage since about 2005 or so


But how much of the increased usage is accounted for by precisely the discussion of the controversy?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 28 2017 21:09:54
 
kitarist

Posts: 535
Joined: Dec. 4 2012
 

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to Paul Magnussen

quote:

(this just shows the increase in usage is real; not if specifically used toward a black person)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Paul Magnussen

quote:

Here's the Ngram to show increased usage since about 2005 or so


But how much of the increased usage is accounted for by precisely the discussion of the controversy?


As I said above: "this just shows the increase in usage is real; not if specifically used toward a black person" - there is no easy way to know, but this is my suspicion as to why suddenly the usage increased almost 3-fold. The Ngram was just curiosity, the argument above is independent of whether the total usage has increased, rather it is about how live usage creates a new meaning so saying it did not mean that historically or originally has less weight than might appear at first.

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Konstantin
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 28 2017 21:31:06
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 2811
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to kitarist

quote:

Here's the Ngram to show increased usage since about 2005 or so - unfortunately the data stops at 2008 at the moment. (this just shows the increase in usage is real; not if specifically used toward a black person).


The problem with the graph is that it really doesn't tell us anything about the use of the term "niggardly" other than it's use has increased. You state that the increase in usage is real, but if, as you say, it may not be specifically used against a black person, who else would it be used against? In other words, perhaps the increase in usage is not as a "sly slur" against anyone. It seems to me that, using Occam's Razor, the easiest explanation is that the increase in use is in its definition as "miserly" or "stingy."

If its increase in use does reflect, in part, a misrepresented ethnic or racial epithet, it is entirely possible that it is all on the side of those Blacks who misunderstand its meaning and condemn it as a "slur." In other words, the Blacks themselves are inadvertently creating a definition in their own minds that is at odds with the term's meaning when they continue to condemn its use and therefore increase its usage.

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 28 2017 22:06:56
 
kitarist

Posts: 535
Joined: Dec. 4 2012
 

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to BarkellWH

quote:

ORIGINAL: BarkellWH
If its increase in use does reflect, in part, a misrepresented ethnic or racial epithet, it is entirely possible that it is all on the side of those Blacks who misunderstand its meaning and condemn it as a "slur."


What is there to misunderstand, though - it is an HOMONYM for "nigger" (a fact independent of interpretation or politics) - that's why it is easily interpreted(*) as an intended slur when suddenly starting to use that instead of a myriad of other adjectives when referring to a black person.

(*) Just to be very clear, I am not saying that people mishear it as "nigger"- they hear that it is a different word which however sounds the same save for the 'ly' ending.

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Konstantin
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 28 2017 23:16:29
 
timoteo

 

Posts: 216
Joined: Jun. 22 2012
From: Seattle, USA

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to BarkellWH

quote:

The term "niggardly" dates from the fourteenth century Middle English term "nyggard," meaning a miserly or stingy person, and it has retained that meaning, and that meaning alone, to this day. It has never been associated with a racist epithet.


I do not think that word means what you think it means...

According to the New Oxford American Dictionary, "niggardly" is OFTEN OFFENSIVE (their caps, not mine). It advises that the word should be "used with caution" and that it "can cause unnecessary confusion and unintentional offense".

Let's face it, language changes and it's purely pedantic to insist that the original definition from seven centuries ago is the only possible way to interpret the word. Its current connotation is different, at least in America, and anyone who IS familiar with the word and its etymology should know that and refrain from using it in any context that isn't 100% clear - to do otherwise *is* being a "smart-ass", at the very least. A scholarly discussion of Chaucer using his words is, IMO, one context where use of this word is proper.

There are a lot of good words that have been lost to changing definitions. I personally miss some of them, and I often insist on using them 'correctly' (yes, that makes me a "smart-ass" too) according to their original definitions EXCEPT when the current usage may cause great offense, which is not the case for most of these words.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 29 2017 1:11:02
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